Lismore honours its finest
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
MARIA SOURRY may not be able to walk any more, but as long as she can talk she will not give up helping people.
The 82-year-old was yesterday named Lismore's Australia Day Citizen of the Year for her work at the St Joseph's Nursing Home in Dalley Street, Lismore.
Mrs Sourry volunteered at St Joseph's for 10 years before suffering a stroke in 2003 and becoming a resident of the home herself.
"I'm paralysed down one side now and can't use my right arm or leg," she said.
"But as long as my tongue keeps working and I can keep talking to people, I'll be OK."
Although wheelchairbound, Mrs Sourry still organises social activities for the home's residents and is a confidante to many.
"I just try to help people and hold their hand," she said.
"It's amazing what you can do for people just by talking to them and listening to them.
"I'm a people person.
"I love people, especially older people."
Mrs Sourry said she originally volunteered at the home because her mother had lived there.
"My mother died there, then my husband died there," she said.
While most would dread the thought of having to live in a nursing home, Mrs Sourry said she loved it.
"I'll live there for the rest of my life," she said.
"I can't go home to my house, so it's my home now."
Other category winners were: Robin Moore (art/cultural), Lismore Rural Fire Service volunteers (community service), Ruth Butts (community service), Blakebrook Public School (environment), St John's College Woodlawn Under-14 rugby league team (junior sport), Joshua Keep (junior sport), Barry Carney (senior sport) and Jacinta King (young citizen).